5 Tips for Pitching Creative

As a creative professional, the hardest task is not the actual work but pitching creative to a client. A good pitch wins the client over with not only smart design, but most importantly a good case for why it works. A great example of a well-executed pitch is on the show Mad Men, the lead character Don Draper sells ideas like no other. His ability to articulate why ads make us feel a certain way and confidently telling his client exactly why the ad will work is pretty incredible. Who can forget the episode where Don pitches the Kodak carousel? This is what makes him a great (albeit fictional) creative director. It is interesting to think that as much as technology and time have changed, creative work still relies heavily on the pitch.\n\nPitching creative is always daunting and it never seems to come easy, but like most things, the more you do it, the better you get. Here are 5 tips for pitching creative to clients:\n\n1. Put yourself in their shoes: Look at your idea from your client’s perspective. Is your idea unique and going to set them apart from their competitors? Sell your idea based on how it will differentiate them from everyone else and present the big picture changes that your work will do for them. Add value by comparing what they are doing now (this could vary from a website redesign to an entire branding system), and expound as to how much better they could be once the work is completed. What to do: Present “before” and “after” samples of work; it works wonders.\n\n\n2. Tailor your idea: A great solution fits specifically to your clients’ needs, goals and strategy. Aligning your pitch with these specific talking points is always a win-win. What to do: Read through the statement of work or RFP, choose words that are used and integrate them into your presentation vernacular.\n\n3. Practice: Try out your pitch on your boss, co-worker, friend, or significant other. Their unique perspectives can help you tweak your ideas and presentation. It may also help to get the nervous jitters out to try it out beforehand. Some people are natural presenters, others are not. As my old music teacher used to say “Practice makes permanent.” What to do: Practice. Dress professionally. Smile.\n\n\n4. Use others’ success: Comparing your idea/concept with another successful product or campaign can make your idea seem more tangible and equitable. The key here is to not steal, but make to make a point of comparison. I read recently that Steve Jobs likened the iPhone 4 to a Leica Camera: “You gotta see this in person. This is beyond the doubt, the most precise thing, and one of the most beautiful we’ve ever made. Glass on the front and back, and steel around the sides. It’s like a beautiful old Leica camera.”  What to do: Analogy is a great way to communicate an idea, use it wisely.\n\n\n5. Fight for your Ideas: The biggest lesson that I have learned is to not give up on a great idea. This can be a delicate situation, but if you truly believe that your idea is great and will help your client, lobby for it. What to do: There are different approaches to this, a subtle “This concept is everyone’s favorite” can help point them in the right direction. Clients are human and will usually respond favorably to positive opinions by others.

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